Defining innovation: Dr. Ruth C. Browne

December 16, 2021

Ask a dozen executives to define innovation, and you’ll likely hear 12 different answers. Become aims to answer this question. This annual research, sponsored by Mastercard and based on the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services’ Business Innovators Index, provides actionable insights and roadmaps needed to spark innovation, all of which are informed by research and insights from business leaders across continents and industries.

This month, Mastercard Executive Vice President Cheryl Guerin sat down with Dr. Ruth Browne, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House New York, a nonprofit that provides temporary housing for pediatric cancer patients and their families in a strong, supportive and caring environment at East 73rd Street and hospitals across the five boroughs of New York City.

The pandemic, Browne says, has forced a fundamental rethink of how the business operates. “A lot of individuals, a lot of organizations think about, ‘How do I cut back and just do what's necessary?’ when the opposite couldn't be more true … It was so important at the moment of COVID to ensure that we could bring joy in people's lives at a difficult time.”

In fact, the pivot to virtual health care presented RMH-NY with an opportunity to extend its scope and reach. “We are [now] much more ingrained in the New York City continuum of health care," Browne says. "And we're really proud of our ability to do that.”

In 2017, Browne was recognized as an advocate for health equity and a beacon for change with the President’s Award from the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. In 2018, she was named a Notable Woman in Health Care by Crain’s New York.

“Innovation and technology will always be a driving force, pushing us to find ways to create experiences for consumers that are truly priceless,” Guerin says. Watch Browne and Guerin in conversation as they reflect on what we have — and what we will — become.

Learn more about Become and what traits the most innovative companies share here.

Photo credit: Ronald McDonald House